Home Security Blog

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Alarm Grid has begun selling the Honeywell 5800C2W, a new wired system to wireless system conversion kit. “This marks a real sea change in the alarm industry,” said Joshua Unseth, spokesperson for the company, “it shows a shift in focus from the old wired panels to an industry dominated by wireless technologies.” Years ago, the industry was reticent to accept new RF wireless sensors, since they were regarded as notoriously unreliable. Nowadays, however, wireless installations dominate the market. “It is hard to convince hardwired installers that the new wireless systems are just as good,” Unseth said. “The technology was as of yet unproven just 5 or 10 years ago. But now, these systems have now shown that they can do just as good a job at protecting the lives and the property of everyone who installs them in their home. Anyone who isn't convinced yet is going to be left in the dust by these emerging technologies.”

Honeywell's most popular security system is the LYNX 5100, a touchscreen system that is capable of home automation and home security. While marked down at an affordable price, compared with what a security system used to cost, perhaps the biggest story when it comes to the Honeywell LYNX is the ease of installation. While customers have traditionally relied on professional, licensed installers to put wire panels into a home, these new systems allow access to state-of-the-art home security equipment that runs using simple A/C power, which means that individual homeowners can install a unit on their own, without the help of a professional. That said, until the introduction of the 5800C2W, customers have not had a reliable way to use their already installed wired contacts, which would prompt users who would have been good candidates for a wireless security system to purchase and install one of the wired systems since changing out sensors can be extremely expensive.

“We want to make sure that wireless security is available to anyone that wants it.” Unseth believes very strongly in the implications of wireless technologies to Alarm Grid's future. “Wireless systems are cheaper, at least as reliable, and much more simple to install and use than any wired system on the market.” If that is in fact the case, then there is little doubt that Alarm Grid's future looks very bright.

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If you have a home that was pre-wired, you want to use those wires, but you love the features of the Honeywell Lynx, you are in luck!

As of yesterday morning, Honeywell has released its newest product, the 5800C2W. This beautiful, green circuit board is an incredible piece of equipment that should get anyone getting ready to put in a home security system incredibly excited. This 9-zone unit will allow the user to take advantage of all the wired sensors in their home, and convert them into a wireless zone.

Previous to this device, users could accomplish a similar result using the RE208, but since that product was not made by Honeywell, most users simply opted to do an installation of a wired panel, such as the Honeywell VISTA 20P, and install a wireless receiver either at the panel or get one of Honeywell's RF keypads (6162RF, 6152RF) which have the receiver installed internally and do not need to be put onto the panel.

If you've ever done it, a full panel swap-out is a crazy experience, especially if it's your first time trying one. You can do it without too much trouble, but the time involved in the conversion can be a significant investment. With this product, instead of a full system swap-out, all you'll need to do is install a Lynxtouch L5100, then at the old panel, take out each wire, zone by zone, pair it to the zones on this panel, and then use the one-button configuration to have the unit found by the L5100.

If you have more than 9 zones, that's no problem either. Honeywell confirmed with us that you can run more than one of these units at a time. So, if you have around 18 zones on your old Brinks or ADT system and you want to use this item, all you will need to do is buy 2. For those around 27 zones, 3 5800C2Ws will suffice.

In all, this is a huge development for Honeywell, and we're excited to be selling the product. It further emphasizes their commitment to moving in the direction of wireless security technology. And for all you DIYers out there, that should sound like music to your ears!

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Keep moving. Nothing much to see here... except a lower price Honeywell's super popular GSM communicators. These Honeywell cellular communicators are used on a majority of Honeywell's wired security systems, including the 10P, the 15P, the 20P and more.

We are lowering the price from $229.99 on the GSMV4G to $213.99 (-7.4%), and the GSMX4G from $224.99 to $200.99 (-11.9%). The GSMX4G-TC2 was $237.99 and will now be $213.99 (-11.1%), and the GSMV4G-TC2 will now be priced at $226.99, down from $252.99 (-11.4%).

Ultimately, these are small changes. But we want to make sure that we are giving you the best deal that we can possibly offer on all of our products. A home security system is a wonderful luxury that gives all of its owners the peace of mind that can only come from knowing that your property and family are safe and secure. The cellular pathway is the most secure available in consumer grade security systems. So we're glad to be able to offer these communicators at such a great price.

If you're in the market for a home security system and all of this is just a little bit over your head, just pick up the phone and give us a call. We will gladly explain the difference between a GSMV4G and an iGSMV4G or any of the other communicators you're interested in learning about.

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Wonder what one of our security yard signs look like after an incredibly harsh winter?

This year has been one of the worst in history. But we're proud to say that our signs have faired very well. We were excited to see the following tweet from one of Alarm Grid's many clients:

@alarmgrid signs hold up well in new england winters! pic.twitter.com/7dUvEKlPvJ
— Dave (@flarms) February 9, 2014

Alarm Grid Sign in the New England Snow

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After hearing a story on NPR about a mysterious thief in Key West (which isn't so far from us), I thought it would be appropriate to do a little story for our blog. Like many communities around the United States, Key West's residence who live around the island's graveyard have been getting robbed by a mysterious Apple-product loving thief. The problem has become big enough that the police are even offering a $5,000 reward in exchange for "information that leads to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the recent burglaries in the neighborhood surrounding the Key West Cemetery."

When I heard the story, I felt a little bit like the world's most famous man in tights, Superman, "this sounds like a job for Alarm Grid." If you are a resident in Key West that wants to make sure you are protected against this sort of intrusion, why not think about getting a security system? They are affordable, and with our no-contract monitoring, if you no longer want to be monitored after the thief is caught, you don't have to be.

For something basic, you'll want to make sure your doors and windows are protected. The Honeywell 5816 or 5811 sensors (depending on how much you care about the size) are perfect for that and you'll want the main security panel. If you want to save a little bit of money, you can buy some of these things in kits, like the L5100PK. If you want to step up the security a bit, you might want to consider getting some glassbreak detectors, some motion detectors, and a wireless Honeywell camera or two never hurt anybody.

If you're a Key West resident in need of monitoring and assistance trying to figure out what you might need, give us a call. We'd love to help you protect your property!



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We're giving the site a facelift! We've partnered with POW Photography in Chicago, IL to make sure that our site is filled with high-resolution product photos. The first pictures we've had them take are our most popular items. So this won't all happen over night, but over the next few months, as you come back to research your new alarm system, don't be surprised when you see a new, beautiful photo suddenly take the place of an old, blurry part.

If you want to see a gallery of the new photos, I'll be including them below as we add them to the site:

Honeywell 5834-4 Wireless Key FobHoneywell 5816 thick wireless door and window sensorHoneywell 5811 wafer thin door and window sensor for the L5100Honeywell GSMVLP5-4G wireless cellular communicator for the L5100Honeywell 300-04705 L5100 LYNXTouch TransformerHoneywell LYNXRCHKIT-SC battery backup for the LYNX Touch security systemHoneywell L5100-ZWAVE module for the LYNXTouch L5100 Security SystemHoneywell L5100-Zwave AnteriorHoneywell L5100-WIFI AlarmNet Communicator for the L5100 LYNX TouchHoneywell 7847i-L AlarmNet communicator for the L3000LYNX Plus GSMVLP4G AlarmNet CommunicatorHoneywell 5800PIR-RES Pet Immune Motion SensorHoneywell LT-Cable for the LYNX Touch L5100

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Total Connect 2.0 Navigation OrderAlarmNet has given its Total Connect 2.0 app a much needed update. While the iPhone and Android apps remain largely untouched, the new enhancements give access to the robust functionality of the Total Connect website to both iPad and iPad mini device users. The experience is now more uniformed across the platforms, giving iPad users the ability to do many of the things they were never able to do from the old app: configure the system, make adjustments to Honeywell's cameras, create custom scenes, setupz-wave device behaviors and more.

In addition to these improvements in functionality, Honeywell has given all the apps, including Total Connect for the iPhone, some cosmetic upgrades as well. This enhanced user experience allows the app to take advantage of the phone's landscape rotation capabilities, and Total Connect cameras will be given signal strength indicators so that you can understand the fidelity of their connection to the modem - information that is critical for anyone who wants to make sure that their security system is performing optimally.

The update hasn't been released in iTunes quite yet, but will be getting released within the next few days. If you are one of Alarm Grid's many Total Connect users, be sure to download the app so that you can take advantage of all of its new features.

Total Connect Logo

For those of you who are not using Total Connect, but are wondering what it's all about and whether it's right for you, feel free to use our demo account. The interactive services that Total Connect make available, will allow an user to receive text and email alerts, as well as take control of the security system as a whole. Any of Alarm Grid's monitoring packages that include "interactive services," come with Total Connect.

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Just a little while back, we wrote about how Honeywell had introduced the new Honeywell 6162 and 6152 keypads. These new wired keypads have some awesome new features that make programming a little less confusing, and a little more "GUI" (graphical user interface) based. Honeywell is calling the new programming interface VIP and it is only available to users with VIP compatible keypads if their alarm system has the newest 9.18 PROM chips on their Vista 20P and VISTA 15P circuit boards. Honeywell is shipping the new V20P/V15P panels that have the 9.18 chips already installed for those that are purchasing new systems. However, if you are interested in upgrading an existing system to support the VIP programming, you don't need to purchase an entire new system. We offer a standalone VISTA-20P PROM chip and a standalone VISTA-15P PROM chip that you can use to to upgrade the panel without needing to reprogram any settings. Until this week, we were distributing the older 9.12 prom chips that supported Total Connect 2.0 as Honeywell had not released the standalone 9.18 chips. We are happy to announce that as of this week, we do have the new 9.18 PROMs.

While having an updated, state-of-the-art panel is what everyone wants, getting the 9.18 PROM chip is not necessary for everyone. First, check the revision of your system. Then, here are a few things to consider before you jump in and get the new chip set:

What is different about the new revision?

The only difference so far as we have been told between the 9.12 PROM and the 9.18 PROM is the ability to use VIP programming. So before you jump into a new revision, decide whether the VIP programming is something you want. If you have an old 6160 keypad, the answer is simple. You can't do VIP programming. On the other hand, if you have a 6162 keypad, the VIP programming is something you can definitely make use of if you have the right PROM.

Do I need the 9.18 PROM to use Total Connect 2.0?

Nope! The new 9.18 PROMs do support Total Connect 2.0 service, but any system with at least a 9.12 PROM will support Total Connect 2.0 as well. The 9.18 chips won't give you any added Total Connect features as of yet. We'll let you know if that changes.

Will the old communicators work with the new revision?

Honeywell hasn't made any changes to their communicators. So the 15P and 20P communicators that worked for 9.12 panels will continue to work for 9.18 revision panels: GSMV4G, GSMX4G, 7847i, and iGSMV4G

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I'm not into saying "never", so I won't say that Alarm Grid will never make its own security system. But we get a significant number of people asking why we don't do it now, so I've had a lot of practice answering this question. While it might be in the cards someday, let me explain our thinking on why we have made the decision to sell other company's security systems rather than make our own. Our decision is, I hope you will see, consumer-centric. We think that it is better for you, and after you read this, I am certain you'll agree.

1) Creating a better security system than already exists would be really really really expensive...

Modern security systems have hours and hours and hours and hours of R&D. Hardware requires some incredible expertise, and the best hardware designers do not work at Alarm Grid. In fact, those engineers capable of making amazing systems are at places like General Electric and Honeywell. 2Gig is a lab full of former Honeywell-ers, and there are a few other companies that are full of pretty capable hardware creators.

Creating a security system that is better than any of these companies is going to be nearly impossible. There are options available to us. We could, for example, go to a wholesale site like alibaba.com and source foreign-made security systems, slap our sticker on them, and ship them to you. But whatever the case, there is one thing I can be sure of in a world where we go that route: our security system will be inferior to the high quality Honeywell security systems we sell now.

A lot of the systems that are "made" by other companies lack many of the basic features that Honeywell builds into their most popular system, the Honeywell LYNX such as APL (colloquially known as smash & crash), baby-sitter codes, or a graphical user interface that is simple to use and program. Honeywell and these other companies that make big systems have poured many millions of dollars into their R&D. Are their systems perfect? Not by a long shot. But they are very good.

If we ever put our name on a security system, if we are going to willingly call something a product that we created, we are only going to do it because the quality of the system is so incredibly high and the features included in the system are so surprisingly many. Until then, you can expect a store full of Honeywell security systems (and eventually other brands will make it into our catalog as well).

2) Generally companies that make their own security systems are doing it to give the impression of being the good guys... but they aren't...

There are a lot of companies out there that have decided to go the make-their-own-security-system route. They pitch them as more affordable than the alternatives, and many of them have positioned their company as the security company that is responding to the evils of deceptive contracts and pushy sales.

While these companies may provide no-contract alarm monitoring, much like we do, the fact that they have a proprietary system effectively guarantees that their customers don't leave. Unhappy with your system or service after 5 or 6 months? Too bad. If you want to secure your home with someone else's service after you've purchased their equipment, you're going to have to shell out money for an entirely new security system. So while you don't have to pay to terminate a contract early, the price of leaving their company is going to be between $200 and $500 (more if your house is very large). That's about what it would cost to terminate a contract early. So... what's the difference?

3) We View Ourselves Fundamentally as Service Providers

Alarm Grid isn't a hardware manufacturer. We just aren't.

We know a lot about the products we sell. If you check out our reviews.

You will see that people think that we are more knowledgeable than any other company with regard to our featured product lines. What we have built this company on is the desire to make sure that our customers get the best service they can. We don't think that the gap in the industry is on the hardware side. There are a lot of really competent hardware manufacturers. But all you need to do is look at the public facing twitter feeds or read a few reviews of some of the nations biggest alarm companies to see that there is a huge gap on the service side.

We see it a lot when our technicians answer phone calls. Customers call after having left a company that tied them into a long-term contract, pushed them into getting services they didn't need, and they are suspicious of us when they call. We are able to restore their faith in humanity by being kind and answering their question with no pretense.

Focusing on doing things outside of our core competency - such as trying to build a team to put together a hardware system - would require us to sacrifice the human side of our business which is what we're more interested in the first place.


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We hear from apartment renters pretty often wondering if a security system is right for them. One of our goals has been to make sure that anybody and everybody has access to state-of-the-art security, and it's no different for apartment dwellers.

We know that just because you don't own the place where you're living, it doesn't mean that you don't want to protect your property. Thieves don't care whether you own the house or rent it. That's why we've made it simple to setup your system and even simpler to pick it up and move it if you leave your home.

Setting up an apartment security system is easy. So take a look below, we'll explain exactly how we would go about it.


1) Pick the right system: Honeywell's L5100 panel is the best option for any renter looking for a beautiful, but affordable way to get big-home security. The Honeywell Lynx comes with an energy efficient touch screen, and a 95 db speaker built right into the unit. With the help of our Youtube videos, you can figure out how to use almost every single function of the unit with relative ease.

2) Don't wreck the walls: The L5100 is wireless, except for its need for power. While most security systems are mounted on the wall, no one says you have to be conventional. And, since the wall is owned by your landlord, we would hate to have to lose your security deposit because you punched a hole near the door for a security system. So with the help of an LT Cable and a handy dandy desk mount, you don't have to run wire behind the drywall, and the system will look great just sitting on top of your counter.

3) Wireless means no wires, and sticky tape means no holes: Since this system's wireless, you won't have to go into any attics and pull up wire. All you need to do is teach the system about all the different sensors you've installed in your apartment. You do that by typing in the serial number of your various sensors.

3) Even the communication is wireless: The L5100 can connect to the central station using either the phone line, WIFI, an ethernet cord, or over the cell network. While using the phone line or running an ethernet cord will require some wire, using wifi or cellular (GSM) means that you can have the system sit on a counter top, monitor your wireless sensors, and have nothing more than a power wire running from the system to an outlet. The WIFI communication path is the most commonly used pathway by Alarm Grid customers, but the GSM pathway is a little bit more secure (although it costs $10/month more to be monitored over cellular). All you have to do is decide how you want to be monitored. For WIFI, use the L5100-WIFI; for GSM use the GSMVLP5-4G. Installation is as easy as 1-2-3.

Below is the L5100-WIFI Installation Video

Below is the GSMVLP5-4G Installation Video

5) Home automation is for everyone: This system can be equipped with a Z-Wave module. What that means is that even renters can get creative with home automation. Whether you install Honeywell's ZWStat, or use the Leviton's z-wave plug-in outlet so that you can control the lights in your home.

Below is the L5100-ZWave Installation Video

This system will allow any apartment owner to pick up and go when they are ready to leave their home. And the sensors can go too. Whether you move into another apartment or you end up buying a home of your own, this system really is the most modern security system on the market.